Adventures of a Wine-O

April 10, 2006 at 12:54 pm (Uncategorized)

This past weekend we had our trip to the Hunter Valley which is wine country if you are in New South Wales. Which I am.

A 2.5 hour trip north started off the day; as everyone on the tiny bus gently snoozed in anticipation of the depressants to come. Or maybe it was just that we all got up at 7:30am on a Saturday and watched Beau eat a bacon and egg sandwich for half an hour before we were finally off.

Once we got there, we started at McGuigan's- the first of four vineyards. Before any bottles were cracked we had our cheese tasting. We had five different cheeses and were all slowly chewing as the woman explained in graphic detail about the molds on cheeses. All of them were really good (we tried 5) but I still don't like Brie. There was another cheese that, during maturation, is scrubbed once every three days to remove the mold. That one was reaaaallllyyy good.

Moving onto the wine. I don't know what I expected but we tried an average of 10 wines at every vineyard. Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Port, Rose, dessert wines, it was all over the board. I have to say, by the third vineyard I was pretty nauseous. I also don't even know the name of the last one we were at. The second was Brokenwood and the third was Mount Pleasant. The last one specialized in liquers, so we tried three reds and three whites before we got to taste the good stuff. We had their version of Bailey's and a couple of other ones that I don't even remember because I was terrified of the Chili Schnapps that would be the finale. I survived, and it was crazy. They infuse their Butterscotch Schnapps with chilis so that it is sweet, but extremely spicy. I threw it straight back (on the suggestion of the bartender) and my throat was burning for a while.

It was a nice day. We had good weather and it was interesting . . . but I'm officially a beer girl. I thought that the experience might open me up to the world of wine, but all it really did was convince me that I don't really like it. Especially dessert wine. Eeeeck.

Nothing else really happened over the weekend . . . but today I got to go to the Australian Museum for part of my work-day. They sent me to check out an exhibit on pearls. I stupidly assumed that there couldn't be too much to see, but they had about five good sized rooms devoted to the exhibit. It went through every different kind of mollusk that produces pearls and all the details of what they look like, complete with actual examples. They also had a lot of historical references and looked at the history of pearls in society, mostly through paintings and artefacts. I learned some interesting things . . . for example, the queen conch sometimes produces pearls but this is unusual for a gastropod since their anatomy does not make it easy for something to get lodged in the right place. Also, the largest pearl ever found was inside a giant clam and weighed 14 pounds. Last, since mollusks evolved about 500 million years ago, they have been able to find fossil pearls that are between 210-230 million years old. It was a great exhibit and I am highly recommending it to all of my fellow travelers.

That's it for now . . . more paper-writing to be done this week and hopefully some flight-booking as well.  


  1. MOM said,

    My wine cabinet on the US east coast seashore is safe . . . wheewww! Three cheers to beers . . . .

  2. gabe cooper said,

    nothing like wine tasting to remind you that beer is still the best.

    here’s a nice little rhyming adage from germany (picked up in düsseldorf):
    trink’, was klar ist; iss’, was gar ist; sag’, was wahr ist.
    (drink what’s clear, eat what’s cooked through, speak the truth; doesn’t work so well in english!)

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